The cafe culture is presently trending across the entire city of Guwahati. And to add a new twist to this fast growing phenomenon, Chef Atul Lahkar has come up with another mystic concoction - Cafe Heritage Khorikaa. A first-of-its-kind ethnic cafe, Cafe Heritage Khorikaa is all about ethnic Assamese snacks. And with this trendy cafe, Chef Atul Lahkar has finally brought traditional Assamese snacks to the city's F&B landscape!
Chef Atul Lahkar is a name which needs very less introduction. Over the last two decades, this man has single-handedly brought about a sort of resurgence in ethnic Assamese food through his unique bids to document and commercially promote our traditional food. His established restaurant Heritage Khorika is a brand name when it comes to ethnic food of Assam and Northeast India.
Cafe Heritage Khorika is an extension of his popular ethnic restaurant, albeit in an all-new cafe avatar. The cafe is located in Guwahati Club, opposite the State museums.
Talking about the concept behind Cafe Heritage Khorikaa, Chef Lahkar says, "Over my 20 years of experience cooking and serving traditional Assamese food, I had realised that we needed to make Assamese cuisine more than just a lunch or dinner option. In this age of globalisation, I wanted to expand the scope of Assamese cuisine. Since we have such interesting food of so many tribal communities, I wanted Assamese food to be an option which one can have from morning to night."
He further says, "Cafes nowadays have become the most preferred place for youngsters to hang about. The reason for this is simple: Food which is well presented and which is served at a reasonable rate. The idea behind starting Cafe Heritage Khorikaa stemmed from this very thought - traditional Assamese food with a twist served at affordable rates. All the food items in our menu are highly reasonable. This is a very new concept and I do not want price to be a deterrent."
The first thing that strikes one as he or she enters the place is the decors. The entire culture of Assam and Northeast has been depicted in the form of wall-art, which lends a unique aura to the cafe. Simple yet elegantly carved wooden and bamboo chairs and tables make up the layout of the place. The lighting is minimalistic and gives one the feeling of entering a Thai or Chinese restaurant. "I had engaged four young artists to depict various facets of Assamese and north-eastern culture and heritage on the walls. So as you can see, we have tried to portray Bihu dance, the mask making culture of Majuli, the war dance of the Nagas, and the like," said Chef Atul Lahkar.
Cafe Heritage Khorikaa brings for the first time homemade pithas and coconut ladoos served with your favourite brand of tea or coffee. "I have never come across any restaurant which served traditional Assamese jalpan. So for the first time, we have introduced the concept of serving pithas and ladoos with the beverage of choice."
And for those who are looking for something heavier, they can choose from different kind of traditional combo meals like smoked pork/chicken/fish cooked with brown rice or normal rice.
Taking us through the menu, Chef Atul Lahkar says, "I wanted to bring in the Southeast flavour (Thai and Chinese) to traditional Assamese dishes so as to make it marketable in the cafe format. So we have dishes like pork or chicken wrapped in lai xaak and for which rice is served as a side dish." Herein, it is important to mention that the restaurant also serves brown rice, which is the preferred option for many nowadays. So all those who are health conscious or worried about the intake of extra calories, you can now enjoy traditional Assamese meat dishes with healthy brown rice!
So next time you are looking for a new cafe to hang out with your family and friends, Cafe Heritage Khorikaa is definitely worth checking out!